It's a new era for citizen journalism! Will they be able to drop clustered scheme markers with the help of informants from the shadowy underground and the loan of a giant stompybot with READ THE TATTLER AVAILABLE HERE TODAY painted onto its plating? Will her opponent be able to keep up with a much diminished stream of effects-per-action from simplified journalism rendered into Simple English?...
Can Misaki use shadow markers as scheme markers and complete her schemes? Can Nellie use enemy interact actions and complete her schemes? Why do I sound like the episode of Yes, Minister where he is talking badly about the press?
TURF WAR: Detonate Charges, Power Ritual, Outflank, Assassinate, Deliver a Message
Nellie +4ss, Printing Press, Phiona Gage, Allison Dade, Undercover Agent, Peacekeeper, Brutal Effigy + Effigy of Fate, Guild Steward
Misaki +7ss, Shang, Ototo, Yamaziko, Crime Boss x2 + Masked Agent x2, Torakage
The board had some blocking terrain to dodge around, which I put in Misaki's corner deployment zone having won the flip for once and which made running from turf to turf not so straightforward, but other than the upper left turf marker being stuck in severe it didn't impact much other than early LoS to Shang. The game ran very long at 3 hours 30 minutes, with several last-minute checks of the rulebook to make sure things were written the way we assumed they were. (The info is all there, but the organization can maybe use some duplication. The "no triggers after death" thing was under Triggers but not Damage or Death.) Misaki noted that Deliver a Message is currently a dead scheme against Nellie. Nellie noted that with our top-heavy crews, Outflank and Power Ritual were dicey choices for both of us. Remarks about new-style journalism underlined; color commentary in italics.
I. Misaki wins initiative. One pass token to Misaki. Misaki stones for cards.
Early game repositioning. Guild steward drops power ritual scheme & focuses peacekeeper. Torakage, Shang, press, Dade veer to the left. Brutal effigy veers to the right, hiding behind terrain. Misaki hops forward, obeys bosses and Yamaziko forward, skim discard black joker. Ototo hops forward laying shadow marker chain (one red joker). Phiona walks into slight chokepoint, drops scheme. Boss k hops forward, flips CENTER. Agent (buried) forced interact black joker. Yamaziko flips UPPER RIGHT. Nellie pushes peacekeeper to Phiona scheme (not quite touching); walks forward twice; reveal sources Ototo to obey boss k to attack Ototo (the push covered the shadow marker, so boss m cannot hop forward all the way), weak damage 3 & place Ototo in peacekeeper LoS. Boss m hops not quite so far forward, charges Nellie, weak damage 3 (stone -2) & places Nellie & masked agent upgrade NO squeal trigger (Nellie uses biased language). Peacekeeper shoots Ototo, weak damage 2 & push 3+3, hits Ototo, red joker damage 7 (stone -3) & discards 1 & hits Ototo, weak damage 3+1 (stone -2).
II. Misaki wins initiative. One pass token to Misaki. Nellie stones for cards.
Misaki unburies at center; obeys Ototo to charge (out of combat) Nellie (stone ram), red joker damage 8 (stone -2) (ow.); skims discard pile of RJ 11R 12R (this is all she wants but there are other unactivated models, must she take one card for them all? we decide she must but would like a clarification) 9T 8T ??; obeys boss M to charge Phiona & peacekeeper, hits peacekeeper Nellie discards 1 Phiona, (I just discarded to direct a hit AWAY from the "tanky" stompybot because Df6positive, Armor 1, soulstone beats Df4, Armor 2, [blank] by a mile, this does not feel right), moderate damage 4 & place behind peacekeeper; charges Nellie, misses. Nellie questions Misaki, slow & weak damage 1 & Misaki flips CENTER NEUTRAL & Nellie focus & draw 1 (still a lot to remember for a single action, but slightly easier as half of it is only on me not my opponent); questions boss m, slow & moderate damage 3+1 & distracted; reveal sources Shang, misses (trying to displace boss k, I think it was, back up the board--but I had forgotten Ototo had yet to activate, should have questioned him instead); pushes self away from center towards Phiona scheme. Ototo hits Nellie (whoops) (focus defense), misses, hits Nellie (stone ram), weak damage 3+1+1 (stone -2) (I don't have a squeal noted here, boss was still too close), heals self 4. Peacekeeper hits boss m (distracted defense), weak damage 3+1, boss m dies, shoots Ototo (should have charged), weak damage 3 & pushes 3.
(Pause here as Misaki debates remaining pieces further up the board and how to prod them to have the threat range to finish off either Nellie at two wounds remaining or the brutal effigy which is threatening to grow up and shut off those lovely coordinated attack triggers and oyabun's commands.) Yamaziko walks & charges boss K (stone mask for the push), moderate damage 3 (on the relented attack...) & pushes 4, buffs aura of positive flips to minions. Undercover agent punts boss k back to deployment (apologetically, I have not liked that ability since I first laid eyes on it, but my gods he is the biggest spanner/monkeywrench in Guild, the entire Amalgamation Control & Enforcement toolbox collection notwithstanding) (at least it's rare 1 now), walks to touch lower right. Shang walks to the left, fails to shockwave. Phiona (remembers she has I've Got Your Back, that might have been handy before Ototo activated) places Nellie away from center, charges Ototo, black joker defense, moderate damage 4, hits Ototo, red joker damage 6 (Ototo at HtK). Torakage (abandons plans to leave itself touching the upper left turf marker, smart child, I was sandbagging a high mask so Dade could co-opt that) walks and charges Phiona, misses. Guild steward flips LOWER LEFT, heals Nellie 3 & focus. Boss k walks, hops to a marker, pressures undercover agent to...discard a card or take an action, agent discard 1 & 2 damage (clever boy, threatening to do to me exactly what I was going to do to him, and making me discard the card I was going to do it with). Press walks & charges Shang, severe damage 4, Shang dies. Allison walks twice to touch upper left. Brutal effigy walks near lower right. Nellie 1 (Turf war): Misaki 2 (Turf War, Assassinate).
III. Misaki wins initiative. Three pass tokens to Misaki. Both sides out of stones. Dade is fast from end of last turn. Brutal emissary pops, engaging Yamaziko and boss k. [Misaki later confesses his hand is absolute garbage, a handful of weak cards. He didn't have anything to guarantee forcing a single hit onto Nellie. Ototo is engaged, so will have to disengage-or-walk, and hit once. Misaki is slow, and there are no shadow markers within charge range of Nellie, but she can either walk-and-charge and swing once and try to top deck with a 7 attack, or use Misaki's two actions to attack Nellie twice via other vectors.]
Misaki pops at center, shockwaves, Nellie and peacekeeper pass & shadow marker drops; obeys Ototo to charge (out of combat) Nellie, misses; skims discard pile, finds three crows, Nellie discards 2 & Phiona stunned. Nellie disengages Ototo (black joker defense) (I NEEDED to get away from my OWN scheme marker to facilitate interacting and, my hand also being drained from dodging Misaki's antics, could not guarantee I could hit Ototo for the kill either even with the stat differential); schemes, heals 2; removes scheme, heals 2; discards 1 to companion. Guild steward heals Nellie 3 & focus, charges Ototo, slow (Ototo uses biased language), concentrates. Ototo heals 2, hits peacekeeper, red joker attack (thank you, little fat man with a slow attack!), severe damage 5 & shockwave, Phiona & peacekeeper pass, guild steward slow. Brutal emissary fails to cast aura (like I said, no hand left worth mentioning if I couldn't hit a 5), hits Yamaziko, severe damage 5 & places her (over the quadrant line), hits Yamaziko, red joker attack, severe damage 5 & blast 4 boss k, Yamaziko dies, UPPER RIGHT NEUTRAL. Boss k places at lower right & agent pushes 2, hits agent, misses, (realizes agent is still alive and going to do that forced interact thing if he flips lower right this instant) (note to self: work on poker face), walks a bit away from lower right but still blocking interact range over it. Dade flips UPPER LEFT, walks to within 6" of torakage, questions torakage, fails, fails to buff. Torakage walks (out of engagement), schemes (Dade focuses), fails to hop to shadow marker. Phiona hits Ototo (scheme marker attack), weak damage 2, hits Ototo (scheme marker attack), severe damage 5, Ototo HtK. (See, Ototo low stat tank is a stone sponge, but between that and juggernaut at least HE can survive being beaten on for awhile.) Peacekeeper hits Ototo, misses, moderate damage 4 & power token, Ototo dies. Press walks & charges torakage, moderate damage 3. Undercover agent fails to force interact, hits boss k, misses, misses. Nellie 2 (Turf War); Misaki 2.
IV. Misaki wins initiative. Five pass tokens to Misaki.
(Misaki muses target selection out loud. Now that there aren't many actions to spare, the peacekeeper is unlikely to be troubled.) Torakage places & flips shadow to scheme, flips CENTER, concentrates. (There is now a tiny cluster of scheme markers saying "detonate charges" ((and in a softer voice "still a scheme not worth it even with this litter of shadow markers everywhere")), so charging the torakage to kill it is disincentivized. I spend awhile thinking.) Brutal emissary buffs aura of heal upon attacks, walks, hits boss k, weak damage 3, boss k dies, emissary heals 1. (Misaki thinks for awhile also. I have revealed no schemes and am well out of position for the endpoint of the centerline schemes.) Misaki pops at lower right, hits agent, agent dies, hits emissary, emissary does not die. (Long pause for thought from Nellie for order of operations.) Phiona lures Allison Dade and Nellie closer to the center of the board. Dade walks to the center within 2" of torakage, questions torakage, weak damage 1 & forced interact CENTER NEUTRAL. Time is running short, so I reveal that I intend to double-walk Nellie within 6" of the torakage and have it claim the center marker, then run in the peacekeeper to Trail of Gore eat the scheme markers, and maybe the torakage into the bargain...Misaki concedes. Nellie 3 (Turf War): Misaki 2. Projected final score Nellie 5 (Turf War, at least one of either Deliver a Message or Detonate Charges depending on where Misaki pops): Misaki 2.
The bookkeeping has gone down quite a bit, I will concede that. The need for Nellie and Dade, two squishy girls, to get within 2" of enemies--enemies!--to turn them is a definite downgrade. I am still not entirely sure how a journalist crew killed its way past obstacles, or how the heck I am supposed to use this turning-the-enemy more than once per enemy because of that 4" friendly scheme marker limitation. I'm not sure why Nellie's strange obey is on a trigger. I take back what I said about the journalists not being able to force engagement for the damage track of One More Question--they can now but it does involve sidling up to within 2" of enemies! Still quite odd. I have a feeling they are going to start issuing lead-lined gumshoe coats as soon as possible. If I face the three-min-damage-3-two-with-coordinated-attack-triggers kill box Misaki crew again, I will certainly be buying the Laugh Off component of lead-lined coats. How am I still alive? Raw stats?